How to shop at a modern American supermarket: Stick to the edges of the storeâthe produce, dairy, bulk dry goods and meat and fish departments. Thatâs where youâll find whole foods with lower margins and lower prices. Avoid the center aisles of expensive processed foods. Compare the price per ounce on the shelf tags of similar products; larger containers arenât always cheaper. Read the circulars for deals. Itâs worth going out of your way for sales on nonperishable items. Buy store brands, which are a bargain even at Whole Foods and New Seasons. Whenever possible, buy bulk over packaged dry goods.
How to shop at the stores in this guide: Walk every aisle. Ask lots of questions. Poke things. Squeeze things. Sniff things. Ask more questions. Make impulse buys. Eat fearlessly.
This is the fourth edition of Devour, and it is our most extensive guide yet to Portland's constellation of specialty markets and food purveyors. It is still far from comprehensive—hardly a week goes by without my spotting some unexplored fishmonger or import store—but there are far more businesses included in these pages than any consumer could reasonably be expected to patronize. I hope you'll explore liberally, and find a store or two to add to your regular shopping routine.
For newcomers to the sport of culinary odyssey, this year I've added "top picks" to the beginning of each section of Devour. These are not necessarily my favorite stores so much as the ones I think should be the highest priority for the uninitiated. They are the places I send out-of-town visitors hoping to sample a little of what eating in Portland is all about: freshness, variety and adventure. Bon voyage!